Why have one Olympic champion, when you can have two? Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim made sports history in Tokyo and won the hearts of the fans with their gesture of fair play. On 16 July in the Silesian Stadium we will find out whether the kings of high jumping tie for the win yet again. Tickets sales for the showdown of athletics greats are under way!
The organisers of the Polish stop on the Diamond League tour continue revealing more names of the stars set to appear at the event. The Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial, which has how become a regular fixture on the prestigious circuit, will feature high-flyers. The term can be taken literally in this case, as both Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Essa Barshim are capable of flying high over the bar.
- Between them, the two have won 25 major championships medals. Barshim, who has often surpassed the world-record height (2.45) in training, won medals at the last three editions of the Olympic Games. In an event where turnover among the elite is high and the shelf life of leaders is generally limited, these two are monumental figures. And they are both charismatic to boot. In the case of the Qatari it also needs to be said he is a rare guest at invitational meetings. He has picked his appearances carefully in recent times, choosing to peak for major championships. That demonstrates his preferences: he wants to be an even greater legend, even as he is already worthy of being called one – joyfully stated Piotr Małachowski, sports director of the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial.
- I’m looking forward for the summer season and I’m excited to compete in Silesia for the first time. I’ve been doing so much trainings in Poland through my career and I have a special connection to Poland because of my coach Stanislaw Szczyrba, so I want to come to Silesia and jump high! – Mutaz Essa Barshim said. – I’ve already been to Silesia and I will come back soon - it makes me very excited. The atmosphere over there is amazing, the crowd give a lot of energy to the athletes! – Gianmarco Tamberi stated.
A high jump competition with a field of this caliber has been the dream of all athletics fans for at least a year and a half. The chance to see the Italian and Qatari jumpers renew their rivalry became more of an attraction since they tied for gold at the Tokyo Olympics. It took a while for the Japanese hosts to engrave an extra medal, as nobody had envisioned the competition to end in a tie. At least nobody who was not privy to the relationship between the two champions.
- You are a true friend – those were the words uttered by Tamberi in the Olympic Stadium that day, the words that got reprinted in sports newspapers all over the world.
Trained by the Polish coach Stanisław Szczyrba, Barshim earned that description through motivating his rival to come back after a serious injury, an Achilles tendon tear. The Italian gritted his teeth, took the time to heal and returned to peak form in the most important moment of his career. As they were both eliminated at the same height in the Olympic final, with an identical number of failures, it was the Qatari who showed his heart was in the right place. Millions of television viewers became witnesses of his conversation with an official, in which he inquired whether a jump-off was needed. - No, it is not. You can both be winners – was the reply. - OK, in that case, let us be done with it – the 30-year old decided. A moment later, he passed the news to his friend and they both burst into tears. Tamberi layed on the stadium floor and pulled out a cast – the same one he had earlier worn on his leg, nearly depriving him of his dream.
- The appearance of these two is not just a guarantee of great sporting excitement and top-quality jumping. Mutaz and Gianmarco are ambassadors for humanity, empathy and values such as friendship. I feel proud when I think on 16 July they will honour the memory of Kamila Skolimowska and show up in the Silesian Stadium – commented the Silesian voivodeship assembly chairman Jakub Chełstowski.
Both Barshim and Tamberi have already been guests at the ”Kama” in the past. In 2016, while the event was still held in Warsaw, the Qatari took the win with 2.35, which remains the meeting record. The Italian competed in the Silesian Stadium two years ago, clearing 2.30. This will, however, be their debut appearance in the Diamond League in Poland. Both jumpers thus join an already outstanding list of stars of this year's edition of the event. The organisers had earlier confirmed the participation of, among others, Armand Duplantis, world record holder in the pole vault, as well as Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the fastest European 1500m runner of all time.
- Of course there will be no shortage of our national team's stars on 16 July in the Silesian Stadium, including multiple major championship medalists. We can already confirm that the Polish Diamond League meeting will feature Paweł Fajdek, Wojciech Nowicki, Natalia Kaczmarek, Piotr Lisek and Ewa Swoboda, and the international stars mentioned earlier are just the start of major announcements. Our ambition is to hold a truly world-class event, the like of which has never been seen in Poland before – Małachowski stated.
The sale of tickets to the Silesia Diamond League continues on the eBilet.pl site. The organisers are assembling a team of children, who will escort the stars into the stadium on the day of the competition. For more information on the application process for the children, as well as all other important news related to the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial, please visit the MemorialKamili.pl site, as well as the social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.